Actors: Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka, William Zabka
Format: Limited Edition, NTSC
Number of discs: 30
Studio: Visual Entertainment Inc.
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2014
Run Time: 5038 minutes
Coinciding with the theatrical release of Antoine Fuqua’s adaptation, starring Denzel Washington, the classic 1980s action series has been released in a box set. All four seasons which aired from 1985 to 1989 are included on 30 discs, along with several discs of special features. The discs are all housed in the single DVD cases you would receive if purchasing the seasons separately, though they all come packaged in a glossy limited edition box with a flip-top lid.
Edward Woodward stars as former government agent turned private detective Robert McCall, a.k.a. ‘The Equalizer.’ The role was such a significant hit for the actor that he was nominated for an Emmy five years in a row, despite the show only having four seasons. In some ways, the special features in this set seem to suggest that Woodward is the greatest asset of the series. He certainly embodies the role of the aged professional well, appearing harmless enough to garner the trust of helpless victims while retaining the abilities of violence learned in his past life.
McCall runs a personal advertisement in the local paper under his pseudonym, attracting an assortment of ordinary people in need. The problems that are brought to McCall range from as simple as a high school kid being bully to more dangerous situations that require him to bring along armed and skilled allies. He usually takes on a few cases an episode, providing a plethora of opportunities for guest stars who have risen to fame since the show’s original run. Season one has Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”), Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch”), and Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”). Season two includes Kevin Spacey in his second professional role, John Goodman, William H. Macy, Christian Slater and Steve Buscemi, while seasons three and four feature Macaulay Culkin, Telly Savalas (“Kojak”), Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), Stanley Tucci, Laurence Fishburne and Ving Rhames.
Although the limited edition box set may just appear to be a collection of separately packaged individual seasons, there is a collection of bonus discs that add extra value to the set. There are six discs of special features, which include four full discs of “CI5: The New Professionals,” a British crime drama starring Woodward which was based on the 1970s series, “The Professionals.” There is also a disc that includes Woodward’s last role, in A Congregation of Ghosts. Most of the extras are directed at fans of Woodward more than “The Equalizer,” though there is a behind-the-scenes documentary and an image gallery for the show on the last of the bonus features discs. Also included is a booklet insert with cast bios and photos.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10